Whenever anyone, anywhere, is thinking about building a kayak park, I’m always there to encourage them to go for it. Vail was no exception, and I spoke in front of the Town Council to encourage them to build the park.
After it was built, I spent the next few years bagging on it.
Here’s why: Unfortunately for kayakers, there were a bunch of snotty property owners on the right-hand bank of the river, and they hired a lawyer and a spokesperson in their effort to torpedo the park. They claimed the park would be noisy and dangerous.
I was flabbergasted at the idiocy of these people, who never complained about the “noisy” and “dangerous” river beforehand.
None of these people actually showed up for any meetings, and the Council eventually ignored them and built the park.
With the encouragement of the snotty property owners, however, the features of the park were created in a way that meant smaller waves and fewer rapids. The end result is that Gary Lacy, who has designed and built all the great parks in the country (and a few elsewhere, I believe), built a so-so park in a small river in Vail.
Vail’s park turned out to be a bit of a flop – or so I’ve thought. For the past few years, I’ve been encouraging people to build parks on the Eagle River, where there would be more flow and bigger waves.
Looks like that’s a possibility in Avon, by Bob the Bridge. Kayakers be on the alert – in a year or two, the best play wave in Colorado will be right there in Avon.
In the meantime, however, I’m officially retracting my bag-on-it-as-much-as-possible stance on the Gore Creek play park. I actually paddled it the other day and, when the Chute is running around 4 feet, the wave is super good. It’s got a pretty sizeable pile, it’s nice and even, with lot’s o’ room for loops and blunts and anything else you want to try. Beginners can sally through the park without too much to worry about, and plenty of room for swimming if need be.
As the creek lowers, the park will get less and less fun – but at least it’s better than nothing, and it’s a lot better than I’ve been giving it credit for.
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